Recently I was talking with a potential client across the country in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had received their information from a “get a quote” type of website since the gentleman was just shopping around at the time for the best options for his business.
As we talked, I admitted that our company was based in Colorado and, while we were perfectly capable of selling and servicing a copier anywhere in the U.S., we wouldn’t be able to compete with the face to face relationships he was currently in the process of establishing with other local sales reps.
He of course appreciated the honesty and I proceeded to send my best estimate.
A few days later I received a rather entertaining email from him all about how sick he was of the local copier reps wanting to meet him and take him to their facilities to show him around, etc. He made it abundantly clear that they had crossed the line of being relational and just being a crutch to his ability to continue doing business while shopping for a new device.
Even though we provided a very competitive option for him, he ended up choosing to go with the copier company directly across the street because they could provide that personal attention that every business wants. And I can’t blame him, I would have done the same thing.
Two things stand out to me about this interaction.
- Business people have learned that buying is based far more on relationships, emotions, reputations, etc. than just price alone. While some may claim that all they care about is the bottom dollar, in the end, they are much more likely to do business with someone they like, than someone they don’t.
- There is a profound difference between a salesman that is looking to use this fact to try and initiate sales, and a salesman who actually CARES about a potential customer and their business.
The Right Balance
As a local Greeley copier/printer salesman, I admit it seems crazy to turn someone away if I don’t think I can provide an adequate service or product for their specific needs. At the same time, that intent is exactly what makes a local rep so valuable.
Benefits of a Local Rep
- A local salesman (or saleswoman) can shake hands and look a customer in the eye when they make claims about their products and services.
- That sales person can meet in person to identify unknown risks and needs that may not be discovered through a phone conversation.
- And a customer knows exactly where to find their local rep if something isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
At the same time, it is important for any salesman to remember that the main goal is to make their part of a business run as efficiently as possible. If a rep is getting in the way of every day business, there is a good chance that they are too focused on taking your money and not focused enough on helping you with what you need.
The Bottom Line
That is what we strive to do for our Greeley customers and we know it makes a difference. Call us and we promise to provide that honest relationship that we know is crucial for every successful business.